How Much Will I Get in SSI Disability Benefits?

The amount of your monthly SSI check will depend on whether you're single or married, live alone or with others, and have other income or not.

By , J.D. · University of Virginia School of Law
Updated by Diana Chaikin, Attorney · Seattle University School of Law

The amount of SSI disability benefits that you'll receive is determined by several factors, including whether you're married, whether your state pays a state supplement that increases your payment, and whether you have any countable income that decreases your payment.

How Much Does SSI Pay Every Month?

The ordinary monthly SSI payment in 2024 is $943 for an individual. This amount, called the "federal base rate," is adjusted every year to account for increased costs of living. Keep in mind that the exact amount you'll receive can vary based on any reductions due to income or additions for a state supplement.

How Much Is SSI for Married Couples?

If you're married to and living with another person who collects SSI, then you'll receive the SSI amount for couples, $1,415. Notice that $1,415 is less than you would receive if both spouses collected the full SSI amount for individuals ($943 x 2 = $1,886). Social Security pays a reduced SSI amount for couples because it assumes that some of your costs, like housing, are shared.

Is There a Minimum SSI Payment?

There isn't a floor for SSI payments, but your monthly SSI check amount will be reduced by the amount of any income that you earn (except for certain amounts that Social Security can disregard). The more money you earn, the less your SSI check will be, until your countable income is more than the federal benefit rate. At that point, you won't qualify for SSI anymore.

How Is the Amount of My SSI Determined?

When calculating your countable income in order to determine the amount of your SSI disability payment, Social Security will disregard the first $20 of monthly income (from any source), and the first $65 of any earned income (wages from work or self-employment income). Social Security also disregards one-half of the remaining income that you earn every month.

Here's an example of how SSI payments are determined.

The above example assumes that Sanjay isn't eligible for a state supplement. If he's eligible for a state supplement, then his SSI payment will be higher by the amount of the supplement.

Social Security won't consider income from SSI recipients in certain financial situations to be countable income. The following exclusions apply:

  • Disabled students under 22 are able to disregard $9,230 in earnings annually.
  • People who are setting aside money in a PASS (Plan to Achieve Self-Support) account are able to save that money without Social Security counting it as income that would reduce their SSI payment.
  • Social Security doesn't count expenses for work that are disability related (such as special transportation or chairs).
  • Tax refunds and loans that you have to repay aren't countable income.

It's important to note that Social Security considers "in-kind income," such as free room and board, to be countable income, and will reduce your SSI payment accordingly. For most SSI recipients who are receiving free food or shelter, this means that Social Security will decrease their SSI payments by one-third.

Will My Spouse's Income Affect How Much SSI I Will Get?

Social Security doesn't expect spouses to share food and shelter expenses equally, so the same in-kind support rules mentioned above don't apply to married couples. For example, your spouse can pay the entire rent on the apartment you both live in, and it won't count as in-kind income.

But if your spouse has regular income, Social Security may "deem" part of that income to you—meaning your spouse's income is treated as your own—when determining whether you meet the financial requirements for SSI. Social Security has complicated formulas for when and how it deems spousal income, and the formulas vary depending on how many minor children live with you.

Be aware that food and shelter provided to you as a government benefit won't count as in-kind income. For example, if you live in federally subsidized ("Section 8") housing, Social Security won't count your rent towards the SSI income limit. Likewise, the agency doesn't count Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP benefits, or "food stamps") as income.

How Much Does My State Pay in an SSI Supplement?

While the SSI program is federally funded, most states have chosen to supplement the federal payment of $943 with additional funds from the state government. Only Arizona, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia don't provide a supplement to SSI payments.

Many states don't pay the same supplement amount to every SSI recipient. Instead, they pay smaller supplements to some SSI recipients and larger supplements to others, based on a variety of factors. For example, people living in nursing homes or assisted living often receive a higher supplement to account for the higher cost of living in a facility.

You can learn more about your state's supplemental SSI benefits and how to apply for them here.

How Can I Apply for SSI Disability Benefits?

You can apply for SSI by calling Social Security at 800-772-1213 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to speak with a representative. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, you can use the TTY number at 800-325-0778. You can also set up an appointment to file for SSI at your local Social Security field office.

Alternatively, you can appoint an experienced disability attorney file as your representative who can submit your application for you. While most people who choose to hire a lawyer don't get one until they've received a denial letter, hiring an attorney earlier on in the process can increase your chances of getting benefits sooner.

Updated March 25, 2024

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